Superfun! Site:

Carter Carburetor

Fun Story

Carter Carburetor was the go-to supplier for the major car companies 1909-1984, when the rise of fuel-injection systems made carburetors obsolete—so its 10-acre factory site in North St. Louis has been a major fun generator and also one of the most toxic sites in EPA Region 7. By dumping TCEs and PCBs in impressive quantities into the air, and also 25 feet down to the bedrock, Carter facilitated 7 decades of great American Fun via muscle cars, diesel trucks, the famously waterproof military Willy’s Jeeps, and lots more vehicles—all just a half-mile from the popular regional Fairground Park, and right next to the Sportsman’s Park stadium (go, Cardinals!), which, in 1967, the city turned over to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis, to perpetuate all the fun next door.

From 1984-2015, the hugely toxic site sat unremediated, amidst low-income and mostly African American communities, while the EPA fought over liability with American Car & Foundry, which had owned the company since 1921—and whose major investor, the corporate raider Carl Icahn, has of course facilitated massive capital and other fun with his investments in fossil fuels, casinos, and other industries, and as an advisor to the Trump administration on how to keep it all fun for rich Americans by lowering corporate taxes. The 5-year clean-up itself generated significant capital fun—to excavate the poisons and ship them to who knows where, and to dilute and cap the remaining toxics in place at the site forever, or at least until future humans decide to have fun digging it all up.

In 2020, the City of St. Louis handed the clean site (no digging!!) over to the Boys and Girls Clubs—which, in turn, has announced a collaboration with Gateway PGA Reach, which now plans to build a youth golf training and sports facility, and thereby to significantly improve the fun in the highly golf-deprived North St. Louis neighborhoods.

Site Factors

Toxic fun catalyst: PCBs, TCE, asbestos
High fun factors: HFRS_01U (cars & trucks & jeeps!) HFRS_03N (major-league sports stadium! big huge popular regional park!), HFRS_04R (golf in golf-desert neighborhoods with a shameful history of redlining!), HFRS_05H (cars, jeeps, trucks!!)
Low fun factors: HFRS_02C (local company, though with extensive connections to global capital)
Superfun! HFRS score: 98.73
Fun status: Active In Perpetuity

Site Location

EPA region: 7
Street address: 2840 N Spring Ave
City: St. Louis
County: St. Louis City (don’t ask)
State: MO
Latitude: 38.656929
Longitude: -90.221498